Nigeria: Mr. President, while you consider your ministers’ list…

7 Jul

Olusegun Ogundeji –  If it is in your power sir, to keep Dr Omobola Johnson in her position as the current information and technology minister, please retain her. She might not be the best in the field but she has proven that she understands the ICT trade and she could do what is expected of her.

The attention given the sector as a viable sector in Nigeria’s burgeoning market has never been quite enormous as it had been in the last four years, and the gains accrued from technology-related initiatives within the period could only be better explained by well-meaning experts as foundational but essential. That is to the best of my knowledge as a technology reporter for the world’s largest tech media and event news company, IDG News Service.

From my base outside of Nigeria, my task since 2008 has been to monitor, analyse and report on ICT-related development across West Africa; from an end-users’ perspective.

It is the latter part of my task that makes Ms Johnson’s role at the ministry somewhat different from previous handlers of the position. She has blended easily with the flow in the changing technological trends in the world, and users (Nigerians) – rather than providers – have benefited more from the IT sector in the last few years. This is largely due to the conducive environment her ministry was able to create to enable the creativity and the untapped business acumen of several talented Nigerians to be put to proper use.

I agree that she could have done better, especially in taming the telcos, which have been trampling on everyone’s authority so as not to reduce cost for the benefit of final consumers but I think she can fix it. In fact, if she is to handle just that aspect for the next four years, it would be worth it. We all know that the Nigerian telecom service providers could be made to offer more to consumers. We all know they can do better.

Nevertheless, like yourself, whatever aspect she might have been considered to have performed below expectation probably based on the information or as the circumstance presented itself at the time, or by other factors beyond what meet the ordinary eye, I believe she could better address such issues head-on with another opportunity.

That would make her present a better scorecard than the previous one she gave last December, a presentation I watched live and participated online from somewhere in Spain.

Aside that she is in tune with developing trends, her sense of responsibility to service and her ability to connect with the public are, to me, commendable. These are key elements that I believe, as a public sector student myself, are potent when you are saddled with the responsibility to deliver with efficiency and effectiveness as a custodian of the people’s trust in a particular MDA.

Furthermore sir, if you agree that introducing an initiative on paper and implementing it require two different phases, please note that there is a greater general focus on the ICT sector today to accommodate empty promises  to Nigerians in that regard.

Though I am still trying to fathom where the insidious issue of tribalism comes from when discussing state or national appointments these days but I won’t hesitate to state that I look beyond it to make this call. I am just a Nigerian with the interest of my country at heart.

However, if my petition would not be considered on certain grounds, kindly ensure you accept to appoint someone truly capable of doing better than Johnson. Nigeria does not have an excuse to be playing catch up in Africa as far as ICT development is concerned. Thank you sir.                                                                                                                                                                             


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